Gain Peace of Mind: Think Like a Monk Book Summary

Written by Terencio White

Think Like a Monk : Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day (Hardcover)
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Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by endless to-do lists or trapped in the rat race of life, wondering if there's more to existence? If Think Like A Monk book summary has piqued your curiosity, you're on the right path. Are the everyday distractions taking a toll on your happiness and inner peace? If your answer is yes, then you're not alone. 

As we constantly juggle our professional and personal lives, it's easy to lose sight of who we truly are and what we want. In these times, it might be helpful to turn to the ancient wisdom of monks - individuals who have made the conscious choice to step away from the chaos and dedicate themselves to reflection, growth, and wisdom.

Thankfully, we don't need to don robes and retreat to secluded monasteries to think like a monk. Jay Shetty's groundbreaking book, "Think Like a Monk", distills profound and timeless lessons on how to train our minds for a life of peace, purpose, and happiness.

In this blog post, we'll dive into the essence of Jay's transformative teachings and summarize key insights from his bestseller, empowering you to embark on your journey towards conquering your thoughts and finding your true self. Are you ready to unleash your inner monk? Let's get started!

The Problem of Chasing Happiness and the Importance of Learning from Monks

In today's fast-paced world, we often chase happiness, constantly seeking that next big thing that will bring us joy and fulfillment. But more often than not, this pursuit leaves us feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. Our idea of happiness is heavily influenced by the media, which bombards us with the notion that being happy comes from fame, money, and material possessions. We're so preoccupied with these superficial sources of happiness that we forget what truly matters.

That's why learning from monks is so important. Monks who have devoted their lives to inner growth and self-discovery possess a vast reservoir of knowledge of happiness, peace, and purpose. They've tapped into a deep, abiding sense of joy that isn't dependent on external factors. And the best part? We can learn from their wisdom to improve our own lives and better understand what it means to be truly happy.

By studying the lives of monks, we can see how they've cultivated a sense of inner peace and purpose despite the countless distractions and temptations that modern life presents. We don't have to become monks ourselves, but by learning from their teachings and adopting some of their methods, we can build a more satisfying, fulfilling life that isn't dependent on the superficial trappings of happiness.

Embracing the Monk Mindset in the Modern World

Navigating the modern world is no simple task, as we're constantly bombarded with external influences and expectations of others. However, the key idea in "Think Like a Monk" is that we can learn to find solace and clarity amidst this chaos by adopting the monk's mindset. This mindset involves detachment from material possessions and negative thoughts, daily meditation, and embracing our dharma, the Sanskrit word, for our unique life purpose.

Overcoming the Monkey Mind

I often liken our minds to a "monkey mind," characterized by a constant stream of thoughts, distractions, and emotions. With daily meditation and mindfulness, we can learn to let go of these thoughts, gaining control over our minds and finding true contentment.

Think Like a Monk Book Summary: Deeper dive

Jay Shetty organized "Think Like a Monk" into three parts, each with several chapters. Here are the parts and chapters:

Part One: Let Go


Chapter 1: Identity

It's common to become entangled in the world's clamor and stray from our genuine selves. One might find that their identity often hinges on others' perceptions or societal expectations, resulting in a life that doesn't reflect their true self.

Shetty highlights the necessity to pause and reflect on our individual values and beliefs. By doing so, we can realign our lives with our authentic selves and strive towards a more genuine, fulfilling existence. He suggests an exercise where you list your values, trace their origins, and ponder if they resonate with your true self. This exercise can assist you in gaining clarity about who you are and what you truly value.

As you crystallize your identity, you may find an influx of energy and motivation to chase the things that truly resonate with you. Life takes on a deeper meaning and becomes more enjoyable as you align with your values and beliefs. By solidifying our identities, we can traverse life with a robust sense of purpose and direction, leading to a more serene and satisfying existence.

Discovering Your Dharma

The Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Indian scripture, is a major source of inspiration for Shetty. One of its core teachings is the concept of dharma, which refers to the natural inclination or purpose that drives our lives. Shetty believes that discovering and aligning with our dharma is the first step towards leading a meaningful life.

The Role of Higher Values and Personality Types

Higher values, such as compassion, kindness, and selflessness, play a crucial role in our journey towards self-discovery. By focusing on these values and understanding our personality types, we can find the direct path to realizing our true selves and fulfilling our dharma.

Chapter 2: Negativity

Negative thoughts and emotions often hold us back from reaching our full potential. Shetty emphasizes the importance of observing and detaching from these thoughts, rather than being consumed by them. This process enables us to cultivate a new perspective on life and make better choices for ourselves and others.

One of the most pivotal insights you can gain from Thinking Like a Monk by Jay Shetty is combating negativity through an uncomplicated method called Spot-Stop-Swap. This tactic can revolutionize your approach to handling negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Here's how it operates:

  • Initially, you "Spot" the negative thought or emotion as it surfaces. This demands self-awareness and mindfulness, enabling you to identify the negativity before it escalates.
  • Following this, you "Stop" it in its course, by simply recognizing its presence and preventing it from overwhelming you.
  • Finally, you "Swap" the negative thought or emotion with a positive one. We achieved this by shifting your attention towards something inspiring and empowering.

This straightforward yet potent technique can progressively reshape how you perceive, feel, and respond to circumstances in your life. Now, when negativity tries to sneak in, using Spot-Stop-Swap can help you regain command over your thoughts and emotions.

Chapter 3: Fear

One of the most impactful concepts in "Think Like a Monk" is becoming familiar with fear, then subsequently detaching from it. The instinctive response to fear is avoidance, a quick retreat when faced with anything unnerving.

However, Jay Shetty's book illuminates that the key to personal growth and progress lies in confronting our fears directly. Rather than fleeing from fear, we should embrace it, understand its origins. Recognizing the root cause of our fear allows us to use that knowledge to detach from it, instead of being dominated by it.

Take, for instance, the common fear of public speaking. Analyzing this fear often reveals that it springs from apprehension about others' judgment. Equipped with this understanding, one can work on speaking in front of smaller groups, incrementally expanding their comfort zone. Over time, it becomes possible to detach from the fear, transforming it into a stepping stone for personal growth.

By becoming familiar with fear and learning to detach from it, we can free ourselves from the constraints that impede our progress in being. This potent lesson from "Think Like a Monk" has the potential to propel anyone forward on their personal journey, given they're prepared to face their fears directly.

Chapter 4: Intention

On your path to personal growth, a vital concept to embrace is the significance of honoring good intentions. As highlighted in Jay Shetty's book, Thinking Like a Monk, your intentions can profoundly influence your actions and their consequences. Rather than merely going through the motions or being solely driven by the end goal, it's beneficial to focus more on the intentions that drive your actions.

By fostering mindfulness about your intentions, you can ensure that your actions better align with your values and objectives, ultimately leading to enhanced outcomes in both your personal and professional life. This approach can also aid in nurturing a robust sense of inner peace and joy as you align more closely with yourself to who you really are.

In order to cultivate your good intentions, it's critical to introspect on your personal values and goals, then consciously align your thoughts and actions to reflect them.

Think Like a Monk Book Summary 

Part Two: Grow


Chapter 5: Purpose

In "Think Like a Monk", a significant concept that may resonate with you deeply is the idea of pursuing our purpose and dharma. Dharma, in this sense, signifies our unique calling or the distinct path that each one of us will tread. Jay Shetty underlines the importance of not only recognizing our dharma but also actively seeking it to lead a meaningful and fulfilling existence.

This concept can be transformative, as it encourages you to question the paths dictated by societal norms or expectations. Instead, you're prompted to delve into your passions and strengths, aligning your actions with your true purpose.

Embracing your dharma can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. You'll find that when you're honest with yourself about what truly resonates with you and actively strive towards it, life becomes more rewarding and enjoyable. The acceptance of your dharma can make an enormous difference, and you could be thankful to Jay Shetty for introducing this potent idea.

Chapter 6: Routine

To embrace a fulfilling and purposeful existence, it's essential to evaluate and fine-tune your daily routine continually.

To start, consider setting up a regular morning routine, encompassing meditation, journaling, and exercise. This can aid you in launching each day with a clear and focused mindset. An evening routine, alternatively, could involve unwinding by reading a book, reflecting on the day, and incorporating gratitude. By incorporating this, you can effortlessly let go of daily stressors and worries, preparing yourself for a tranquil night's rest.

The stress on routines and habits in the book can be transformative. It encourages the adoption of structure and discipline, leading ultimately to a more peaceful, productive, and satisfying existence.

Did You Know?

Monks follow a disciplined daily routine, which includes meditation, maintaining a healthy diet, and consistent learning. By incorporating these disciplines into our daily routine, we can improve our mental health and develop better relationships with those around us.

Chapter 7: The Mind

According to Jay, one's mind can be their greatest ally or their most formidable adversary. It's common to get ensnared in negative thinking patterns that prevent us from leading a fulfilling existence. However, by intentionally adopting mindfulness, it's possible to train the mind progressively to concentrate on positive and empowering thoughts.

Gaining control over the mind involves identifying and comprehending our thinking patterns and learning how to manage them. Consider integrating regular meditation into your routine, centering on your breath, and observing your thoughts without judgment. Gradually, you'll see a more tranquil and focused mind.

By gaining mastery over your mind, you can diminish distractions, enhance your concentration, and make superior decisions. You'll also notice a considerable boost in mental resilience, empowering you to handle stress and other challenges more efficiently. With daily discipline, you'll see that mastering the mind indeed unlocks your full potential, laying the foundation for personal growth and success.

Finding Balance in a World of Obligations

In our fast-paced world, we often feel weighed down by the obligations and expectations of others. Shetty suggests that by prioritizing our own peace and purpose, we can find a balance between fulfilling our duties and living a purposeful life.

Chapter 8: Ego

Jay explains ego is based on external validation, whereas self-esteem is grounded in our own internal standards and values. Building confidence requires us to focus on our authentic selves, our personal growth, and our contributions to others, rather than seeking approval from those around us. This realization helped me see the importance of cultivating a healthy self-esteem, which ultimately leads to a more fulfilled, purposeful, and peaceful life.

This means that instead of seeking validation and approval from external sources such as friends, family, or society, we need to look within ourselves and recognize our own worth and values. By doing so, we can work on improving ourselves and making positive contributions to the world, which boosts our confidence.

This shift in focus from external validation to internal growth and contribution is crucial for building a healthy confidence that is not dependent on the opinions of others.

Think Like a Monk Book Summary 

Part Three: Give


Chapter 9: Gratitude

Throughout our daily routines, we might inadvertently overlook the immense value our relationships bring to our lives, along with the joy and support they provide. When we intentionally turn our attention to gratitude, we acknowledge the people in our world in a more profound way, which positively influences our mental well-being and general bliss.

Jay advocates for making gratitude expression a regular practice towards those who make the greatest impact on us. This could be a straightforward "thank you" or even a heartfelt note to someone who has made a positive impact on ourselves. By fostering our relationships and showing gratitude, we cultivate trust, connection, and a supportive network that aids us in tackling hurdles collectively.

By implementing this key concept, you can expect to see notable improvements in your relationships with friends and family. You may feel a stronger sense of connection, comprehension, and love from them. This practice of gratitude not only enhances your relationships but also aids in your personal growth towards becoming a more compassionate individual. You'll start acknowledging the positive influence you can exert on others.

Chapter: 10 Relationships

Jay talks about the valuable lessons he learned about trust and relationships during his time as a monk. One of the most important came when he was upset about how he gives a lot of love but feel like being returned the same. After a brief exchange, the monk simply replied " If giving loves is who you are then why expect anything in return".

He explains how monks view love as a network of compassion and how the ashram creates a sense of community and lasting relationships. Shetty also discusses the four trust in relationships, which are competence, care, character, and consistency, and how understanding them can help us evaluate people based on their actions and treatment towards us.

Chapter 11: Service

Being of service to others not only gives us purpose and meaning, but also directly contributes to our personal fulfillment and joy. In fact, the book suggests we can experience true bliss only when we dedicate ourselves to helping others.

When we focus on serving others, we look beyond our own needs and wants. We see the bigger picture and understand the interconnectedness of everyone and everything around us. This fosters a sense of gratitude, humility, and compassion, which are essential qualities for a better existence.

We can start applying this key idea in our day to day by actively seeking opportunities to help and support others. Whether it's through volunteering, offering a listening ear to a friend, or simply performing a minor act of kindness.

The Power of Small Things and Spare Time

Sometimes, the smallest actions can have the most significant impact on our lives. Shetty encourages us to concentrate on the small things that bring joy and meaning to our lives. He suggests using our spare time to engage in activities that align with our dharma, as this can significantly contribute to our overall well-being and joy.

Meditation Practices: breathing exercises, visualization, mantra, chanting

Shetty offers insights into several methods that have the potential to reshape our mentality, facilitating peace and purpose in our lives. These include breathing exercises, visualization, mantra chanting, among others. These meditation techniques can help to silence the incessant chatter of the mind, often referred to as 'monkey mind', and fostering a more profound connection with oneself.

Breathing Exercises: This is fundamental, as it aids in calming our nervous system, reducing stress, and enhancing concentration. With mindful breathing, you can experience a more relaxed state of mind, gaining control over your thoughts and emotions. Start with just a few minutes each day, focusing solely on your breath. As you inhale, feel your chest and abdomen expand. As you exhale, feel them contract. This simple addition to your habit can have profound effects on your overall wellbeing.

Visualization: Visualization techniques play a vital role in mindset development. By mentally picturing positive outcomes, you can boost your confidence and motivation to pursue your objectives. Start by finding a quiet place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and imagine a positive scenario or outcome. Use all your senses to make the image as detailed as possible. The more realistic your visualization, the more impactful it will be.

Mantras and chanting: Repeating a mantra or a significant phrase is another beneficial meditation. It aids in clearing the mind and centering your focus on the present moment. You can choose a phrase that resonates with you personally and repeat it silently or aloud. Chanting, particularly in a group setting, can foster a sense of unity and harmony. It creates a shared energy that can be powerful.

Incorporating these 3 daily disciplines into your everyday habit can support you in becoming more focused, optimistic, and aligned with your life's true purpose. Remember, consistency is key, and even a few minutes each day can have a substantial impact.

Timeless Wisdom for a Modern World

Despite being rooted in ancient wisdom, the lessons in "Think Like a Monk" are highly relevant in our modern world. Shetty masterfully combines timeless advice from the Bhagavad Gita and other ancient texts with practical steps and scientific research, offering a roadmap to navigate our complex world and lead a fulfilling life.


What are the 4 practical ways to Think Like a Monk?

  • Value Simplicity: Monks live a simple life without unnecessary material possessions. They find joy and satisfaction in simple things. By reducing complexity and clutter in our own lives, we can focus more on what truly matters.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Monks spend a significant amount of time in meditation, which helps them stay present and mindful. Incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga into our daily discipline can help us reduce stress and improve our focus.
  • Cultivate Compassion: Monks practice unconditional love and compassion for all beings. Practicing kindness and empathy in our interactions can help us build stronger connections with others and foster a sense of community.
  • Pursue Self-Discovery: Monks spend a lot of time in introspection, constantly seeking self-improvement and self-understanding. Regular self-reflection can help us understand our true identity better and align our actions with our values.

What is the brief summary of Think Like a Monk?

The book draws upon Shetty's experience as a monk in the Vedic tradition to share wisdom on how to live a less anxious, more meaningful life. He discusses various topics, like overcoming negative thoughts and habits, harnessing the power of the present, and building meaningful relationships. He also provides practical exercises and tips to help readers apply these lessons in their daily lives.

Is Think Like a Monk a psychology book?

It is not a psychology book in the academic or clinical sense. It doesn't delve into psychological theories or treatment modalities. However, it incorporates elements of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. It's more accurately described as a self-help or personal development book.

What religion is Jay Shetty?

Jay Shetty was raised in a British Indian family and spent three years living as a monk in the Vedic tradition, which is a part of Hindu philosophy. While he draws on this tradition in his teachings, he emphasizes universal wisdom and practical advice over religious dogma. His teachings are accessible to people of all religious backgrounds and those without a religious affiliation.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts.

In conclusion, Think Like a Monk is a powerful and transformative book that offers practical wisdom and guidance for achieving peace, happiness, and purpose in our hectic, modern lives. By following the teachings and practices shared by Shetty, we can learn to shed the negative beliefs, fears, and attachments that hold us back, and cultivate a mindset of growth, gratitude, and service.

As we consciously choose our values, build self-esteem over ego, and nurture relationships based on trust and connection, we can find fulfillment and contentment that not only enriches our own lives but also positively impacts the lives of those around us.

The journey to adopting a monk's mindset may not be easy, but the rewards are truly priceless. Take the time to reflect on the teachings in this book and apply them to your daily life - it might surprise you at just how transformative thinking like a monk can be.

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